The EU needs to make a decision - EROL GÖKA

The EU needs to make a decision

“A public opinion study in the U.K. has shown that the British, who chose to leave the EU (Brexit) in the June referendum, mostly fear the invasion of the country by Muslim migrants and that they expect this invasion to come from Turkey. Based on the results of the survey, 70 percent of British think they have faced an extraordinary influx of migrants in the recent years and that this is concerning. The top 10 countries from where the British prefer migrants are as follows: The U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Germany, France, Japan, South Africa and China. Turkey is at the bottom of this list, ranking even below countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria, which are places of conflict and the income level is quite low, showing the strangeness of the survey results. News website Quartz, which shared the results of the survey, reported that in 2015, with a population of 831,000, the Polish make up the U.K.'s biggest mass migrants, followed by Indians, and that Turks are a minority at 72,000 migrants, with no sharp incline in their numbers in recent years. Jokingly, it stated, 'Turkey's joining the EU does not seem possible in the near term,' telling the British to 'Relax, there is nothing to be afraid of.'” This article was published recently.

Let's be honest and try not to deceive ourselves like some British experts with arguments like, “these results apply only for the U.K., which has gone through the Brexit referendum election propaganda.” This is valid almost for all of Europe. The Turkish and Muslim perception of Europeans is quite negative.

I am constantly trying to explain why it is so, the deep meaning of Muslims and especially Turks, in the subconscious of Europeans and their role as the “other” of the collective identity. It is also true that the Daesh trouble and refugee crisis have caused a bulge in the European subconscious. But still, the big picture did not have to be like this. While our citizens have been working hard in various European countries, keeping to themselves without disturbing anybody, and our country has been in negotiations for the EU, we should have faced a much more positive picture.

Despite it being said for years that in addition to many other obstacles, there are cultural (identity) problems related to “them” being Christian and “our” being Muslim concerning our acceptance into Europe, nobody paid attention. For years we wasted our energy trying to comply with European legislation, trying to get them to like us instead of contemplating the importance of the cultural dimension and take measures. We tried to push the EU rationally with questions such as, “O.K. but you were quick to accept that country even though its standards are much lower than ours.” This should no longer be the case, we should follow a different method in EU talks. Trying to ensure legislative compliance alone is nothing other than denying the truths. Instead, we should focus on the whether they will accept us with our differences, confidently explain ourselves without being persistent and say, “We are not the people that you are prejudiced against.”

We have something to directly say to the EU too regarding this matter. Up until today, the EU did not attach the required importance to the problems the religious-cultural differences will cause in its founding principles. It was constantly stressed that the EU has “a civilization project” and focus was solely on making the required legal regulations. It was believed that the economic differences would be fixed with the aid received from funds. It was thought that the impact of Christianity on life culture in the EU is limited to subjects such as abortion, divorce, et cetera, or that the problem would be solved because the EU perception of political actors in Turkey who in the past said, “They are partners, we are the market,” has changed in the positive direction. It is highly likely that this is to avoid sacrificing utopia against cultural fanaticism. It was either not possible to see that the religious-cultural differences would in the future corresponds to socio-psychological foundations that will have major political results and gigantic identity problems, or political interest plans constantly necessitated postponing the problems. It is not possible to go on any further with a simpleton view, unaware of the social reality of religion and its place in the collective identity, or with hidden agendas. Everybody should once and for all gather themselves.

The EU is obliged to either give a clearer definition of the foundations over which it is built and the principles that gave it existence or openly declare it is a Christian-secularist (directional) structure or to think over a new multicultural, tolerance order to keep different ethnicities and religions together. If it chooses the first, it is clear that there will be no room for Turkey in this structure. But if it chooses a multicultural tolerance order, then a joint project against Islamophobia, racism and fanaticism needs to be implemented and make joint efforts in this direction.

We need to await the EU's decision in complete self-confidence – we should accept whatever decision it makes. Let the EU think about it!


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